The Hand

We stood out like two musk ox on a beach in Florida. He in his formal cowboy get up and me in my gray flannel suit and silk rep tie. In this hotel bar, obviously locally popular, we stood at the bar, looking at each other in the mirror behind the bottles, and comparing ourselves to the "kids"who were whooping and hollering as if the prohibition amendment had just been repealed. He had a well chilled schooner of beer, I was sipping a Bourbon on the rocks. Clearly a cowboy, but the real thing, well polished conservative boots, not the sort that looked like a dead peacock had been stitched on them, very clean Levi's, the button up kind, pressed with a knife edge down the center. Good leather jacket over a discreet chambray shirt worn with a simple single colour tie and, of course, his hat. He looked like just what he was, a well to do cattleman come to town to do business and then scoot out to where he would be more comfortable. And more welcome. Just to make two oddities into one, I walked down, offered my hand and said, "Bill Shepherd, the other one in the room who doesn't seem to belong here."He laughed a genuine laugh and took my hand, "Range Davis, glad to meet you Bill and thanks for saving me from wondering what to do next." He had a point. "Think now that we're a front line we can get outta here? There's a bar in the lobby that looked to be quieter." I was for that.

We didn't link arms but you couldn't have got a playing card between us and going out the door was about like being shot from a cannon. Suddenly the noise and the music and general chaos was behind us. And he was right, there was a small bar near reception obviously run for those checking in whose room wasn't ready or checking out and it was too early to leave for the airport or wherever. We were the only patrons and the bartender seemed almost glad to have the silence of unused bottles broken. My plan had been to get a drink-we had abandoned those we had in favour of speed and being unencumbered-and to sit in some of the comfortable looking chairs. But Steve-the barkeep, his name was on his jacket-seemed so pleased to see anyone we both just sat at the bar. Good choice. Steve was the chatty sort who believed everybody should know every body. He consulted-I can think of no other word-with us about what we might want to drink. If we'd thought another beer and bourbon was alright, Steve was there to reintroduce us to the pleasant world of cocktails. After some consideration he decided that we looked sufficiently sophisticated to be worthy of a Negroni, a drink I hadn't had since the last time I was in Venice at Harry's Bar. Range viewed it with some suspicion but was eased by Steve who said if we didn't like it, he'd make something else, on the house. We were no fools, free drinks, nothing else to do, we sipped our Negronis and wondered what was next on the alcoholic menu.

"Better here" he said and to prove it, took off his hat and placed it, correctly brim side up, on the bar. Without the hat he was better looking than first glance would have suggested. Grey eyes, slightly weathered face from being outdoors, the sort of 'stache that only a big man should wear and a generous mouth with slightly cracked lips, again courtesy of the great outdoors. We sipped in silence for a few moments and then he put his down and said to Steve,"Son, this just isn't doing it for me. I like a simple drink that I can figure out the ingredients without a chemistry set." And he smiled. People behind the front desk must have been caught by the sunniness of it. Like all good cowboys, he held back nothing when he was having a good time and that smile proved it. "Now Steve, why don't you take this coloured water away and find us something with some balls in it and with a beer or branch water chaser. Okay?" Clearly disappointed Steve assembled an array of whiskeys, every kind of expensive single malts and Bourbons he had and he had a lot. But that was not all, he began an amazingly well informed speech about each bottle, the contents, the pros and cons of drinking it, whether it was best straight up or on the rocks....About halfway through the second bottle Range, in his quiet forceful voice, said, "Steve, all that single malt shit is wasted on me, smells and tastes like cleaning fluid. Now Bill here drinks Bourbon and I think I'll join him, two doubles, neat, Jack Black and a beer back. And I'lI thank you." Again the smile but to which were added sink hole dimples. "That do it for you? Shoulda ask but if I didn't play through we'd have been an hour listening to his palaver..." And it did it for me as, increasingly, he did. I'm not the least ashamed of my preference for men but I also don't make any sort of move on some guy I met in a bar twenty minutes earlier. Range didn't look like the sort who'd punch me out but it would cut short a pleasant interval and, besides, if I needed to get laid, I'd been in this place before and knew who and where to accommodate my desires.Which, at that moment only included having another drink and then maybe an offer of dinner. I knew a few places that were interesting, not likely to be overly crowded and served good food. Not ethnic places where you had to wonder what you were eating but good solid restaurants that had good steaks, fried chicken, chicken fried steaks etc. That was my plan.

We sipped and made the sort of introductory small talk you make; getting information without seeming to pry. He was, as he looked, a cow man from Montana who, when the oil play went through, hadn't said no and now ran a herd of Black Angus more as a show piece than for money around the wells.Clearly some of the wells had come in but he hadn't flown off to get"citified", preferred his "spread" and his time with his horse. No mention of time with a wife and kids was made although he constantly referred to "Al" who was his head hand. Seemed Al lived in the main house with him and, when he wasn't out working on the costly herd, was the housekeeper, friend in residence, companion and...I wondered what else. Having heard that I told him about my life as the head of an Ad agency, the strangeness of some of our clients-from a carefully culled batch of stories that stopped short at weird and amusing and concealed their descent into being really bizarre and life threatening. Too, there was Stefan, my German associate who happened to live with me and was probably about to me what Al was to Range. Nothing had been said but, clearly, some ground work had been laid. Some of this had been noticed by Steve who, when we announced our departure for dinner, said to come back for coffee and Brandy before we went upstairs. There was a minuscule pause in his sentence but then added, "together". We looked at each other and laughed. He also slapped me on the butt.

Apparently Steve was a man of parts and wide acquaintances as when we walked into the place at which we were going to dine, the Maitre'd greeted both of us by name, ran the usual about how they were honoured to have us a patrons and took us to a booth that was clever in that you had a view of everything without really being seen. Apparently our preferences in liquor had been divulged-and this had never happened-a Champagne bucket was produced with a carafe of Jack Black in it and you knew that as the partially full bottle was beside the tray on which the bucket sat. We each got a fresh double shot glass and the first one, announced as on the house, was poured for us. Menus were offered, individual buckets with a cooling beer were produced and after a perfunctory request about anything else we might want, everyone discreetly disappeared. Range looked at me...

"Trapped. I, uh, guess Steve read our tea leaves and decided that two stallions should be forced into heat if he had to run us into a breeding stall to do it."And he laughed. "Well, he read it right. You?"

"Guilty as almost charged. I'm not what you'd call gayer than a summer festival but sharing a bed, a shower, some time with another guy is my idea of a good time. Just like we're having now. Which makes me think...when we get back, do we tip Steve or just beat the shit out of him or take him upstairs and take turns doing to him whatever comes to mind..."

"Leave it at a tip and, since he knows because he'll figure it out, he'll find his way to wherever he thinks we are. That is, we are going together aren't we?Sorry to assume..."

"I was assuming the same thing." I pulled out my phone. "I'm going to call Steve and have our things moved into a suite, a good one...any objections?"

"You're almost ahead of me. I hadn't figured out how to innocently call and have my cases moved into the room of a man I didn't know when I arrived. But you don't have to worry about "innocence" when dealing with Steve.Yep, Steve gets a tip, part of which is not to meddle in the business of other men, even if he was sure he was right. 'Cause one day he wouldn't be right and he could get messed up." I thought about that last part myself.

We had a slow, slightly boozy meal, bottle of wine, took our time, enjoyed the view of the place and each other. At some point we took off our coats and loosened our ties, also began a little playing of pocket pool with each others balls. Nothing too arousing, just enough to say, "I'm interested and you're hot". The service, whether Steve inspired or not, was great as was the food. We stopped short just before ordering Bananas Foster, paid up, tipped lavishly and were escorted to the front door with much bowing and expressed wishes for our return. We promised to do so. I noticed that we'd said we'd go Dutch and both paid in cash. Not common unless you're careful about credit and know a lot about money.

The walk to the hotel was head clearing, amiable and surprizing; At one point, Range spotted a niche in a building, pulled me in and I found myself very well kissed. "That's for rescuing me from that kiddy bar." And kissed me again, with tongue. "And that's for what's to happen if you want it...." And I kissed him back with a lot of tongue, a digital exploration of his crotch and a withdrawal that left a thin line of spittle between our lips. "Come on, Steve must be waiting to see what;s happened and what will happen, the little shit." But in truth it's the Steve's of the world that are often the dynamite that set things off.

Back at interference central, the lobby bar, Steve almost lept it when he saw us, not quite hand in hand, but giving every indication that we'd like to be headed toward him. He tried not to look smug didn't work.

"Coffee, gentleman, just made a fresh pot and perhaps a Brandy?"

"Well, the coffee's a good idea, I'll pass on the Brandy. You Range?" He nodded agreement. "Thanks for alerting the staff at the restaurant, they did a great job." He just smiled, you could see that one of his great pleasures in life was playing match maker and for what looked like two mis-matched men, the pleasure was greater.

"I, uh, took the liberty of getting your new room key from the front desk, went up and made sure everything was taken care of, your clothes are unpacked and I sent out a couple of things to be pressed. They'll be in your foyer closet in the morning so you won't be disturbed." We just looked at him but Range came up with a good question, really a great questions, first. "I'm guessing you did the unpacking and....just happened to check through everything?" He didn't seem pleased but wanted to know...Steve just sputtered and finally fessed up that, yes, he hadn't trusted the room staff so he'd performed that little service.Plus put condoms and lubricant in several strategic places. I had to laugh and, momentarily, so did Range but briskly and harshly as if it wasn't quite funny.

"You planning on coming up tonight or tomorrow or do your services stop here."

"Well, if I'm needed of course it would be great if...."

Trying to be kind I broke in, "Steve you're a great guy and we're appreciative of all you've done but...we're at that point were we kinda know what we're doing.If we need a third, we'll know where to find you." But he wasn't sure of that and handed me a business card with his full name, several contact numbers and the name of the company, "Service For You".

"Steve, just get the coffee while Bill here and I decide what to do with you...." and trailed off leaving the impression something was to be done with him but we hadn't thought of exactly what. There was also an edge to his voice that indicated that just possibly what might happen wouldn't be altogether pleasant. I had gathered that for all his charm and gregariousness, he was a private person and Steve had crossed all sorts of personal boundaries.

There's something about the last cup of coffee at night after a trip to a bar and then a restaurant. It's more of a way to stay together for a few minutes more rather than something to be drunk. Steve suggested Brandy Alexanders.

Range looked dead at him."Ya Know, Steve, there's an old saying every man and every man behind the bar you should know it. 'Liquor provoketh desire but taketh away performance'. Now. I have every intention, and I bet Bill does too, of going upstairs and fucking each other, 'cuz that's what we want to do. What you want us to be, it seems, is so likkered up we'd try and climb the elevator. So make a choice, close it down and stand to win later or keep it up and you'll come with us and, when we're sober enough, you won't have a hole or anything that sticks out that hasn't been sexually used, and hard. I've fucked animals that weighed 500 pounds and if I can make them moan, you don't want to know how you'd feel. And then I'd turn Bill loose who would have been, pardon the expression, warming up in the bull pen. You're a nice guy and you will see us again, maybe here, maybe not but not now and not upstairs." He still had on his hat so when he turned and strode away I was with him. 'Course he was smiling a shit eating grin but I understood what he'd done. Not that I wouldn't have liked to looked back to see the expression on Steve's face but that would have been bad timing.

We used up the trip up to the 23rd floor in a self service elevator in one kiss, lots of tongue and formative drool. We both tasted as if our mouths had been marinated with beer, steak sauce, bourbon, salad, French dressing, coffee and some sort of fancy thing that had happened to the corn. Range put the key of a door labeled 2301/03/05. Some how I didn't think it was going to be a studio with a sink in the bedroom. It wasn't. We walked into a well paneled foyer with a table, a door to a cloak closet and a demi-lune table. Beyond that there was a living room that was at once comfortable in a sort of men's country club way but more formal.Range whistled. "If you turn left there's a pool hall and a bar and I don't know beyond that...(a small, well equipped gym as it turned out. The pricey sort with a steam room, good rain showers. Enough bath sheets to carpet any place, sun lamps, a full set of basins where you could shave or wash your teeth the usual things guys did in a communal bathroom/spa. "Lets turn right and, just for laughs see if we can find our clothes or if Steve wants us to sleep in the nude, which we probably will anyway."...and winked at me in a very friendly way...There were two doors, one to a formal dining room with a kitchen off that and another with a hall that lead to the sleeping quarters. Some designer had understood that comfort, solid comfort can be combined with style and every one will be happy. The first bedroom had whatever size of bed is larger than King is more like a playpen. It was turned down with every indication that it was to be occupied by two sleepers. In the closets we found our clothes hung up, shoes, and his "extra pair" of boots well shined and placed.The closet was cleverly designed to also be a dressing room so that's where socks and all the other bits and pieces were.

"Range, just one thing.Did you have any jewelry that was packed, I only asked because..."

"Yeah, I gotta watch that. There are some things I don't want to lose, some studs for my evening shirt that I can't put my hands on."And I was surprized to notice he did have evening clothes, very well cut ones at that."Whattaya think? Steve?" "No one else and if it is Steve, they're safe, just not findable. You wanta call him or...."

"I'd almost prefer going down there, and dragging his ass up here. He's gone too far and that's a lesson to be learned."

"So...are you?" I noticed he had a bag of a shape I hadn't seen before and was locked."Yeah, I'm gonna change and go down and fetch him. Just give me a minute." As a courtesy I offered my ass and two hands to pull his boots off and in ten seconds he was stark naked and for the enjoyment of the world, should have stayed that way. No gym built body, but solid and well defined beneath just the right amount of shag. He rustled through some drawers, found a pair of jeans, so tight they looked applied, didn't bother with underwear, a gingham shirt that he snapped up to just above his navel and, finally, from that odd shaped bag, another pair of serious boots. The sort I think are used for rodeos and have tall heels to better hold the rider in the stirrup and were a matte black. He wore them inside his jeans, used a whip as a belt and, with the addition of a hat was ready to go. "Favour?Rub my nuts and cock just a little, I want to go into that bar in full stud mode." It was my pleasure and in no time at all , he'd inflated nicely, just short of obscene but clearly a cock loaded for business, just on the edge of shooting.

"I won't be long. Get comfortable."

And that's what I did. The suit and the tie, the shirt, everything got dumped in a bag labeled laundry and dry cleaning. We had different ideas of casual but I had some pull on sports pants, didn't bother with underwear either, deep V'd T shirt that revealed a very large eagle tattoo on my chest and a light weight zip from hoodie plus some velvet slippers. I found a place in the living room, grabbed a magazine and pretended to be interested in an article on yard sales. But my faux interest didn't need to last long. In the foyer, I heard a sort of noise, not a struggle but, clearly some one arriving and accompanied by a "guest" who wasn't altogether happy to be here. Or so it seemed.

I'd never really seen anyone brought in "by the scruff of their neck" but that was about the case. Steve didn't look as composed as he had behind the bar, his stiff white collar and black bow tie were missing, the standard white towel wrapped around waiters and barkeeps was gone and he looked almost as if he'd been punched, but not quite. Man handled, yes, but punched, no. Range half walked half dragged him over to where I was and then dropped him on the floor; he made no effort to rise.

"Now, tell us again where the jewelry is, Bill's, mine, all of it." And when he stopped speaking the silence was almost the equivalent of a condemnation.

"I can get it back, honest, all of it. I didn't know they'd take any, I just needed some help to get everything straightened up for you, make it comfortable I wanted, I wanted to see you two men look happy."

I got to him before Range, I was sitting so it wasn't much of a reach and I slapped him hard, backhand, across his face. "Who's 'they', they work for you, for the hotel? This a crew of yours that pulls stunts like this? Was the restaurant in on it? Did they check to see how far my line of credit went?" And this time I didn't bother to slap him, I kicked him flat on the floor, stood up and put a foot on his neck. "Do you want to meet my bros? My crew? Want to be thrown to them? I've got two who only do muscle for me and they'd have you divided in no time. That pretty face, gone, your nuts, gone, bunch of your fingers, gone.Maybe take a leg or a hand, that's pretty standard for thieving. And don't start about 'they', you're the one who organized this so...figure it out. Range, take him to the gym, I'm gonna grab some ties." He added to look in his boot bag, I'd probably find some lengths of rope and anything I thought that could be useful. That I did and grabbed my medicine bag, there were things in there that had possibilities. When I delivered that to Range he suggested I get out of my clothes and find something that I wouldn't mind getting messed up. Steve was shaking so hard I wondered if we'd have to revive him.

Didn't take me long but when I found them, Steve's clothes had been ripped off and he was tied to an electric bicycle. As I came in, Range flipped the switch and Steve's ride commenced. It was the sort that was programmed to be alternately easy and hard and the time could be set for however long you wanted. Range looked at his watch. "Sun ups at, what? 6, 6:30, he looks like the type who'd like to ride all night in the dark.Steve's legs started their involuntary turning and his arms being stretched out and returned, as we left the room, the lights were turned out. Just the light on his dial telling him how far he'd ridden and how many hours were left. I wondered aloud if he could make it that long? Range said he knew he couldn't but after we calmed down we'd go see how he was doing and show some mercy. At least, he wouldn't be on the bicycle.....and had a pleasantly nasty gleam in his eye. "Now, you and me need to find a bathroom and get showered up, may be a long night ahead and I don't mind ending sweaty but I sure hate starting that way." It seemed a good suggestion and that's what we did. Back at our room there was a bathroom that might as well have been attached to a large work out facility. Interesting that the ten foot line of showers was open but when the handle was turned, water poured out from everywhere. Looked great and we both peeled down and stepped in. Range was looking at me. "Didn't figure you for the tattooed sort but you sure are. That bird..." I took up the inky tour..."That bird is an eagle, 34 inches wide from shoulder to shoulder, 17" inches high. On my calf is the soldier's memorial, the gun stuck in the ground with the boots and helmet. Up here, on my right arm is three quarters of a sleeve, the Superman symbol on my ass is a joke and this symbol....indicates I belong to a sort of private group." That seemed enough said. But he pursued it."Private group, sort of a criminal group? And you're the leader, ain't ya...." I stared at him and thought about what I was going to say next. That he was right was obvious but he needed to understand that knowing that wasn't all good or all bad. "Yep, I'm the leader of the laundromat, the head and, yeah, it's about crime. I'm still an ad man but I broke bad years ago. Disappointed?"

In one step he was by me and grasped me, hard. "No, I couldn't be more pleased. I thought you were harder than nails behind all those good manners but it's good to know why." And gave me a take down kiss accentuated with several fingers up my butt that proved he was happy about the situation.

"You're still inflated......too much excitement". I slipped to the floor on my knees and roughly grabbed his cock and swallowed it to his fur. Deep throating is a talent every man who likes to have and give head should have. Knowing he had to be close, I pulled back and worked his head and glans while fondling his bull sized nuts. He was already breathing deeply and his collapsing abdomen told me I didn't have long to wait. I swallowed him as only the best do-spitters get kicked in the nuts- Then went on sucking when he started to die down. That's when it hurts and is the moment when not only does it hurt but is like an orgasm in pain even though you don't shoot, but I'd been around primed cocks before and I knew if I just wrapped my tongue around his head and tried to enter his piss hole...just a little and then he gushed and I followed his cum production swallow for you began to get a second shot if that's what you're after. I wasn't but just wanted to play with him, let him know that I wasn't kidding. He got the message. "Any of me left in that mouth of yours? I always like to taste myself. When I jerk off, I eat what I send out, always." I did as well but this was not quite the moment to get too far into who did what to whom and how. We needed to have a shower and then get back to our seven day bicycle racer.

For intimacy, it's hard to match one man washing another. Lots of soap, soft things to scrub with, stroke each other down and then start all over. Bath sheets to towel down in, caresses, intimate rubbing-fingers not quite touching flesh- to get dry, looks at each other, smiles, and finally, just sitting, naked, waiting to finally air dry. Took us an hour, maybe more. But one thing was sure, we were going somewhere together, just seemed natural. There was however a problem in the mini-gym and that was next up.

We threw on some clothes and dropped by to see how Steve was doing and that was not very good.He was collapsed on the machine but it was still pumping his legs and extending his arms. Range turned it off and if he hadn't been tied to it, he would have fallen on the floor and stayed there. Instead, we carried him to our shower and dumped him in with a medium temperature running having made sure he was still living and breathing.Fortunately the young are sturdy and he came around. Of course he couldn't walk or crawl or use his arms so no need to restrain him and, besides, we weren't going to need to I'd already had time to fix his sentence, discuss it with Range, who laughed, and agreed. We left him on the floor while we went to bed, fucked each other, slept, sucked each other off, got into a long sixty nine, napped, fucked each other again and...then it was mid morning.

In the bathroom Steve had obviously slept-we'd thrown a towel over him-but wasn't moving much.We were able to ascertain he was conscious and available for, if not conversation, then listening. We sauntered in, nude, and pulled up a couple of the stools provided to sit in front of vanities. Range took first shot.

"Steve, my buckaroo, you look like shit and probably feel that way. Good thing is, you'll recover, eventually and actually be better for it, you'll be doing more exercise to maintain your great body, I know you'll like that.But there remains the problem of stealing things from us and, by the way, by the penal code, you're well into felony territory and as it can be proved you set us up, There's another charge. You would have been welcome to join us if you hadn't pushed your luck you have. Bill and I have talked about penalties and we had a number of ideas. Back home, I'd just castrate you like I do all my stallions who get too frisky and that idea isn't off the table but, well, I'll let Bill tell you what's gonna happen."

"Right. You've just joined the ranks of the permanently employed. When you were going through things I can't know what you found or looked at shouldn't have looked at any of it and, fuck, what you stole, we can replace this morning out of pocket change if we want. But thieves and snitches-which is what you are-get punished. And you will. See, you think you're a wise guy, ripping off guests here, setting them up with each other or, I've no doubt, hookers, either sex, and taking a cut. I'll bet that job in the lobby bar is the best thing that ever happened to you. And I'll bet there are some others here who help. If I could catch them, and I could if I'd a mind to, you'd all be here, sort of a line up except we don't have to identify anybody. So here's what happens next, what you didn't bother to notice is that I didn't fly here commercially, I brought my own plane flown by my own guys who have every reason to keep quiet about whatever goes on. In talking about it, short of killing you-like castration, an idea still on the table-we figured it would be best to put you someplace where you could be useful. Do some honest work. Get out in the sunshine, muscle up. In a little while, the guys who fly me are going to drop by and pick you up. Cuffed and stuffed but under a large robe and with sun glasses, gagged out you'll go. Once they get you to the airport you'll be reclassified as freight and loaded into my plane.Four hours later you'll land near his ranch and he's made arrangements for you there. Just remember this, you've been sentenced to a minimum of ten years which is concurrent with Federal Sentencing Standards for what you did. Remember? Crime doesn't pay. That means, you'll be on his place for ten years, no parole, no good time, just whatever you'll be told to do. I expect he'll find an interesting place to house you but I'll leave that to him. I'm not going to even ask if we're clear on this because I know we are and if we aren't you'll figure it out Oh, you almost got shot. I guess it never occurred to you either of us would have a gun but I do and it was with me when you and your buddies were pilfering our things." I took it out of a drawer where I'd put it and opened his mouth with the barrel and stuck it in. "This is what it's like to deep throat death. I can pull the trigger and you'd splatter all over the shower and maybe, after a few years, you'll wish I had."

Range took up Steve's tale of woe. "Yep, that's what we've agreed on but I haven't had a good mountain oyster in a while and your nuts sure are tempting. When we get home....There are some other things you just assumed couldn't be and one of them was that the guys who work for me didn't know about their bosses taste for men but you'd have been wrong. They were all hired because they were the best ranch hands I could hire and because they either were gay or easily tolerated all the men fucking men and so on that went on up there. We talked about this and we don't even know for sure which way you swing but it's not going to matter 'cause once they're through breaking you in, just like a colt, you'll learn to like it. And, remember you've got ten years...and I'll be around to see that you do every second. You're not going to like it, no one likes prison but at least you won't be caged up all day and will get to see the sky and the sun, it could be worse although I don't say it's better. And there's one more thing, it's gonna be done just for you 'cause you wanted it."

We picked him-limp is almost too strong a description-and tied him in a chair in the bedroom. Range and I were already naked so we had a leisurely session of man to man sex right in front of him. Whatever we thought of, several times. At the end we were as sweaty as you can get and absolutely satisfied. Happened to look at Steve who apparently liked what he saw as he had a hard on that tented the robe. Range peeled back the robe, gave him a harsh jerking off, and continued for five minutes after he shot and was moaning in agony. "That's the last of that for years to come, remember what I said about nutting you and we're coming up on the season where we castrate the young bulls and horses, adding in a man would be no trouble...."

My guys showed up and removed Steve. Range and I showered again-we were very tired, after all, we're not young men, and then fell into bed. By the time we woke up, Steve was at home on the range and my new guy and I were hungry.Back to the restaurant where we were as pleasantly received as the previous evening. Casually dressed, we explained we wanted a slow dinner, with lots of good things and make meat a focus point. We turned down the Bourbon deciding that beer was about right and did without wine although we did have the bananas foster.

Walking back to the hotel Range found the niche again and this time we stayed in it for several minutes, had to, he got my pants down and sucked me off so, the next niche we came to I had to return the favour. And we almost held hands.

That night in bed we talked about this and that, avoiding the main question which was,"What about us?". Seems we couldn't talk about it except in the abstract. There were no agreements, no promises, just suggestions and some vague plans "for the future". And then we rolled on top of each other, anxious as stallions and screwed and screwed and screwed. The next morning I turned over and didn't look as he packed up. Came to the bed, rolled my head up, leaned over and kissed me hard and deep.Said nothing and left. It was suddenly very quiet and lonely but it was Monday morning and I had work.

Flying back I got some of the story of Steve's transportation. Range had ordered that he be picked up in a horse van, the sort where a bridle is inserted and then tied to each side. Steve still wasn't walking when they took back off but they'd heard talk about a branding later in the day in lieu of a prison number. And so I went home. Range and I talked, talked, oftener as time went on, met in various places, took a couple of vacations together but...we always went our separate ways. Didn't seem right but, that's how it was. Until one day. UPS staggered into my office with a dolly covered with boxes, all addressed to me. Since I wasn't aware of ordering anything larger than a new lens for my camera, I was puzzled. And then I opened the first, and largest box.There was a note on the contents. "I had to guess about the fit based on knowing your ass." It was saddle, hand made, with my initials and the other boxes, all sorts of buckaroo gear, boots, Levis, scarfs, belts, shirts, hats, the full cowboy kit. And, under all of it, in the smallest box, another note. "I need another hand to help me work the spread."

Three years later Range and I were sitting on his terrace, our worn boots on a rail and a cooler of beer at our side. It was a great Montana sunset after a long day. We'd undone our shirts and held the cold cans against the eagles on our chests-my gift to him. It was peaceful and pleasantly hot. The day I arrived I burned my suit and put on my boots had I never regretted it. Still had some criminal activity here and there but with Ranges oil and what I'd stolen we didn't lack for money.Even had a real good houseboy. Used to be called Steve but, what with one thing and another, we just called him boy. Range cut off one nut and docked his dick so even when he finished his sentence, he probably wasn't going anyplace. He has an iron collar riveted around his neck and a place where a chain can be attached. 'Course when I arrived I had him tatted up, got a guy straight out of prison to do the work and any cop who would look at him would know he'd done hard time in a Federal Lock up. As for Al And Stefan, they hit it right off. Sometimes we'd all get together for a gang bang but, more often they'd be allowed in for our pleasure. It was a good life. Eventually Range approved the amount of sweat on my hat and, at night, we hung our hats on the bed posts. He said I was the best Hand he'd ever had and I think he's the best cowman in the territory.

Sometimes at night when we're curled up sucking each others dicks I wonder why more men don't like dick, after all, they've got one and most guys waste it only pissing and making babies. That's when I roll over and cop a feel just to make sure everything is in it's proper place. It's quiet out on the prairie, just the way I've come to like it. And the man I love likes it too.

Author's note. This is one of several stories I've written about Bill and Range over the years.They are in no particular order although this would be the first if I were to put chapters on them. It's also why you may find action competed in here that in another one or two is alluded do but not completed. Some place I wrote that occasionally I come up with a character or two that I just like too much to leave alone so they're brought back for many encores. That's true of Bill and Ranch and many of the characters mentioned in them. I've always wanted to go visit them on their spread in Montana but wouldn't think of trying one or both. Unless I could do them at the same time and then they could return the favour.





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